Nandos Courtenay Place

Location /  Wellington, New Zealand

People Involved / Zone Design

Bespoke Product / Custom Made Recycled Timber Cladding

Nando’s are famous for their Afro-Portuguese flame-grilled chicken, and a unique mix of food, music and art brought through from the brand’s African heritage. Melbourne’s Zone Design has redesigned the Wellington restaurant on Courtenay Place as part of a country- wide refurbishment of their restaurants.

A great supporter of design, music, and the arts, South African brand Nando’s design revamp focuses on natural materials, rich colours, and accents from the brand’s cultural origins.

Nando’s Courtenay Place is the largest of their New Zealand restaurants, and sits on the ground floor of a listed heritage building. The long, deep floor plan has a low ceiling height, so our goal was to maximise the interior volume and create attractive and intimate dining experiences right throughout the plan.

With 350 square metres to work with, and seating for 120 people, we had the space to be creative with planning and design. We have exposed the concrete columns and beams down the centre of the space for volume, and added bulkheads down the sides to create intimacy for the banquette seating and to conceal services.

We designed linear leather banquettes at the front of the restaurant and booth banquettes at the back for a more intimate experience. We have tried to evoke the tactile and inviting effect of African hospitality while being pragmatic and practical in both design and appearance.

In addition to these spatial devices, we have used warm, natural timbers in an elegant and regular format to make the long space appear shorter and to provide an interesting journey throughout. Textural elements contrast with the timber finish bringing in the layering and texture of the new African aesthetic. Rough plaster render, birdcage light fittings, and bas- relief painted timber panels to the front counter are all symbolic of African culture. Colour was important to identify this character, so a bright palette of orange, yellow, and green is used throughout. African artwork, light fittings, selected wall finishes, and condiments were all made in South Africa and destined to become conversation pieces.